In the spirit of Valentines Day, this month’s Blog Hop asks: Why do you think 'bad' boys are so popular as heroes and 'bad' girls so often reviled? In real life, can those labeled bad change (certainly 'bad' is open to interpretation), or are such fictional romances misleading?
I think there are a couple main reasons why the bad-boy hero works in romances if not in the real world. One of the appealing things is the idea that the love of a woman can turn the life of a bad boy around. Perhaps we see a hurt little boy inside desperately trying to convince the world he’s tough and can’t be hurt. In real life the love of a good woman is often not enough to turn a bad boy away from a life of misbehavior and recklessness. However hard a woman tries, she might never pierce the protective shell she has convinced herself he’s built around his heart, and thus transform him. But the desire and belief that her love can make the difference still holds out promise both in stories and in real life.
Another thing most women want, although some will never admit it, is adventure. Maybe even a bit of naughty adventure. Sometimes adventure to the point of living dangerously. And what could be more dangerous than to fall in love with a man who has a cocky disregard for societal convention and a reputation for wildness. Somehow there is more sexy, edgy appeal in a wild ride behind a man on a barely broken stallion, a rumbling Harley that breaks all the speed limits or on the tossing deck of a pirate ship than could ever be found in a classy town car or a Carnival cruise ship. I’m not saying that there can’t be a steamy and thoroughly satisfying love scene in the back of that town car or on the starlit deck of a cruise ship, but the heart-pounding excitement of the stallion, or the motorcycle adds danger to the same love scene, and therefore more adventure. That’s what the bad boy brings to the romance table. It’s the difference between being kissed breathless in the middle of the town square where the whole world can see in varying degrees of shock and finding a socially respectable time and place.
As for the bad girl not being an acceptable heroine – it’s the double standard that prevails everywhere. Two guys can stagger down the street stinking drunk and singing the latest hit off key and they’re just being boys. Two women do so, and there aren’t too many people who find it cute or even remotely acceptable. Guys might enjoy a wild senseless fling with a woman who loves being naughty, but they don’t marry them and most romance writers instinctively know that and don’t push those boundaries.
Are romance novels unrealistic? Of course they are. But that’s why we read them. Some of us are fortunate to find and marry our soul mates. Some of us have good and satisfying love lives and marriages. Most of us have memories of the boys and men we loved and lost. But let’s face it most of those stories, if written into books would make for some pretty dull reading. We want the excitement. We want to fall in love with both our heroes, bad boy or otherwise, and our heroines. We want to watch them struggle to overcome the conflicts that keep them apart and become better for the struggle. And we want our happy ever after. Again and again. That’s what romance fiction is all about.
See that these authors think about the Bad Boy Hero:
Helena Fairfax http://helenafairfax.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/